Presuppositional Apologetics on Unbelievable

Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve finished up our study of the Watchtower booklet of “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” so now, I’m going to look at some other topics for the time being before the next big project. One topic I want to look at is the recent usage of presuppositional apologetics.

This was featured recently on Justin Brierley’s incredible program Unbelievable. The debate was between Christian Sye Tenbruggencate and atheist Paul Baird. This was round two of the debate. Now I do think round one that had been recorded last year went to Sye, but this time, I give the win to Paul and I wish now to critique some points from Sye’s presentation. Tomorrow, I could spend the blog answering an objection of Paul’s to Christianity presented on the show.

I have been in interaction with Sye and I have not been impressed by what I have seen. Sye had said on the air that other approaches to apologetics that did not presuppose God’s existence or start with Scripture were sinful. As an apologist using those other methods, I strongly disagree. I find that when the apostles dialogued in the book of Acts with unbelievers, they started with what their opponents knew and accepted as authoritative. If I am a non-Christian, I have no reason to accept Sye’s presuppositions. He needs to argue from the presuppositions of my worldview to convince me.

That having been said, I’m not ready to throw out the window what would be called the argument from reason. I do think there is something to the idea that if we find that our reason is the result of an accident, that there could be some reason to distrust it. We all seem to have this belief that our minds can interact with the world and tell us things about it and this is something fascinating worth studying.

If someone thinks they can use such an argument to demonstrate the existence of God, I say more power to them. It is not one I would use so there do not need to be any responses telling me why I should not accept the argument. I would accept a different form based on Aquinas’s fourth way, but it is not the presuppositional argument.

Looking at the debate, Paul did state to Sye that he was willing to grant theism so can Sye get him to specifically Christian theism? Much of the show was devoted to that and the hope was never delivered. Sye would say a nonsense sentence in response like “Pizza three music lamp green.” Well I’m sure at that that every Muslim out there was ready to repent and come to Jesus.

The argument from reason, like any other theistic argument, cannot get you to the Christian God. They do not rule out the Christian God either. They can get you to theism. This is a criticism many of the new atheists make of theistic arguments and sadly, many strongly Calvinistic Christians do. I have heard some say they dismiss the Five Ways for instance because those don’t get you to the Christian God specifically. Aquinas would say they were never supposed to. This is not to criticize Calvinism however. Someone can be a Calvinist and agree entirely with what I’m saying.

What Sye’s charge is is that people use logic and reason without a basis for the validity of logic and reason and they need God for that. Okay. Let’s suppose I grant that. Christianity is not the only system that can justify logic and reason in that case. Judaism can. Islam can. Deism can. Some cults could make such a claim. Aristotle himself would have had a basis for his logic and reason as well.

Sye’s response would be “But you don’t need a generic god! You need the true God!” I agree in a sense. Only the true God could account for reality. However, Sye’s argument is that it is inconsistent to trust logic without a basis for it. If that’s the case, any of the theistic systems win on the question of consistency. However, while something must not be consistent to be true, it’s being consistent does not mean that it is true. I believe the Bible has no contradictions, but that does not mean that if it had no contradictions it would be ipso facto true. If the Harry Potter series has no contradictions, that does not make it historical.

There has also been the case that man cannot know anything about God apart from the revelation of Scripture. I find it interesting that it seems Romans 1:20 is a verse that is used to defend this position when in fact, I think that it argues just the opposite position. Let’s look at the verse:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The Apostle Paul is arguing in Romans 1 that God is angry with the Gentiles for how they’ve lived. In Romans 2 however, he argues that the Jews are just as guilty. However, their condemnation is in some ways worse because they have the Scriptures and they still do not live as they ought. Thus, it is implicit in Romans 1 that these are people without the Scripture but only have general revelation.

These people are without excuse. Why? Because they do know there is a call to their lives. After all, Romans 2 makes it clear that the testimony of the law is written on their hearts. They know right and wrong as general revelation. (Another point for the new atheists to learn. You do not need the Bible to know right from wrong and the Bible is not the moral standard) Still, the gentiles are doing what is wrong.

Thus, they are without excuse. They know enough about the true God to know that he could not be contained by idols and such representations, but they do it anyway. Now does this mean this knowledge of the true God is salvific? Not necessarily. There is the question of those who’ve never heard of course and there is debate on that, but just having a right concept of God insofar as it goes is not enough to bring about salvation.

In fact, that’s what we have in other religions. Muslims and Jews both have some right beliefs about God. The arguments for natural theology can be used by the Muslims and Jews just as well as by the Christians. Of course, when it comes to special revelation, this is where they differ. Sye’s argument would say you need a being who is omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, immutable, etc. Well Jews and Muslims believe in that kind of God. “But that’s not the true God!” This is where we come to the main point.

There is not a single philosophical argument that can be used to prove Christianity. That does not mean philosophy is useless of course. Philosophy can defend the Trinity once Scripture establishes it. Philosophy can support the belief systems of Christianity. Philosophy can guide our thinking so we think rightly when studying the Scriptures. However, you cannot use just thinking and get to the point of saying “God revealed Himself in Jesus through Jesus’s death and resurrection and I need to believe on Him for eternal life.”

Philosophy can get you to God, but it will not get you to the cross. The cross and the empty tomb are events that take place in space and time and thus, they need the backing of arguments based on space and time. That is, they need history. You need to demonstrate historically that Jesus rose from the dead. Even if you could philosophically disprove other systems, it would not historically demonstrate Christianity, which is a historic faith resting on historical events.

Thus, I consider the argument as used for theism, one that is workable, but to say it works only for Christian theism, I deem it a failure in that sense. Let us not make the mistake of thinking what would not want to be thought, that with our reason alone we can reach a saving knowledge of God. We cannot. We need him to reach down to us and we need to use history to understand how he did so.

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77 Responses to “Presuppositional Apologetics on Unbelievable”

  1. Jason Says:

    Hi Nick

    I wrote this piece (it’s a cut and paste from a blog post I wrote, so the start is a little awkward)

    http://thoughtsfromtheboonies.blogspot.com/2010/04/thoughts-on-christianity.html

    It’s going from the Kalam argument to Christianity based on historical argumentation. As you say, philosophy can tell you there is a god, and can even give you some of the attributes of god, but it doesn’t lead directly to Christianity.

  2. Shawn White Says:

    Nice write-up, Nick – very helpful to me in a couple of the distinctions you make.

  3. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    “Is it the living God or an idol which is proved by something that is more certain than God, and something which is known independently of God? If there is something by which I could prove God’s existence – that something by which I prove it would be more certain than God’s existence and could be known independently of God’s existence. But if something is more certain than God’s existence and known independently of God’s existence, it’s not the living God whose existence we are talking about.” ~ Greg Bahnsen.

    In our discussion, I asked you repeatedly how you accounted for logic, and with YOUR account, how you could know ANYTHING. All you ever appealed to was some kind of conglomerate of the ‘gods’ of different religions, and never once answered what you know and how you are able to know it with THAT justification for logic. I submit that you never answered that question because your polytheistic approach would be exposed for its inadequacy in justifying knowledge. For those reading along, just watch to see if Nick EVER answers this question; Nick with your justification for logic (a conglomeration of ‘gods’) what do you know and how are you able to know it? Might I suggest that those reading along do not hold your collective breaths awaiting an answer.

  4. RoBe Says:

    Hey buddy, one little question.

    Nick: “I believe the Bible has no contradictions”

    No contradictions in the book itself? Or no contradictions that can’t be solved by exegesis?

  5. Jason Says:

    I would suggest that Allah is not a suitable basis for logic because among the various attributes given to him is complete freedom. That is “complete” in the sense that he has no limits on activity including logical consistency.

  6. Birdieupon Says:

    The problem with Sye’s personal presuppositionalist “brand” is that he blurs two contentions together:

    1) Logic, math, truth and morality can only exist and be trusted if God exists.

    2) God has revealed himself in such a way that everybody already knows for certain that he exists.

    These two contentions are totally unrelated. If we were to have a discussion about “1” then we could ask all sorts of important and challenging questions about whether theism or atheism best accounts for them. We also can challange people who deny that these four things exist (e.g. a person who says “there is no truth” is self-refuting because they’ve made a truth statement).

    There is, I think, a lot of depth and milage in this kind of discussion. There are good grounds for saying that we act as if all these things exist, and they would certainly seem more “at home” in a universe where mind comes first and matter is derivative.

    However, sadly, Sye really screws it up by veering over contention “2”. He argues that he has had absolutely certain revelation that God exists, and that everybody else has this too (he’ll often quote the Bible to argue that people suppress the truth… one wonders what he’d do if he didn’t have a Bible).

    Now, to start with, this is his belief. It is his OPINION. He can shout all he wants, but ultimately it is still just a proposition that he holds to personally. He still needs to justify how he knows this.

    How does he do it? By saying that “if an all-powerful God exists then it is possible for him to reveal things to people such that they’d know it for certain”…

    …and that’s it! Now, we could even debate whether this is possible, given that “knowledge” itself is a tricky subject and – more specifically – Christianity itself says that we are limited, fallen, finite beings who “see through a glass darkly” amidst other things. Add to this Sye’s endorsement of the Theory of Total Depravity – that humanity is so screwed up they fail to reason and are cut off from God (yet Sye reckons he can reason more than adequately to show others how it’s true that humanity can’t reason)!

    All of these call into question whether we actually do have “certain knowledge” of God. If anything (and as many philosophers and theologians will tell us, broadly and specifically) it seems to come down to FAITH and BELIEF – as does most “knowledge” and actions we take. This is not total blindness, but trusting what we perceive to be true or most compelling. This is not absolute knowledge, this is vulnerable trust.

    Consider again Sye’s claim (going a little into modal logic here) that it is possible for God to reveal things such that we could know it for certain. Well, maybe that is possible. But possibilities come cheap. Many things are possible. The fine-tuning of the universe by sheer chance is technically “possible”. But this doesn’t doesn’t tell us what is ACTUAL. Hence why we’re dealing here in “possible” worlds.

    Now, I actually asked Sye if it was also possible that a person could be deluded in thinking that they have certain knowledge of something, but actually be mistaken. He granted that this was true. People can be deluded into thinking they know something for certain. However, he then said that “it is not possible for certain knowledge to be uncertain” (!!?)

    In other words, he begs the question! He simply assumes that he is not deluded or mistaken, and that his knowledge is certain!

    Let’s think further on this theme of modal logic: it is often said that the argument from evil, against God’s existence, is invalid, because there is no logical contradiction between the claims:

    – Evil Exists

    – An all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God exists

    Any claim to contradiction between these two falls apart by introducing the following contention:

    – God has morally sufficient reasons to permit Evil.

    So long as that’s even modally possible, the contradiction is sunk.

    Now, think about Sye’s investment into the idea that “God could reveal things such that we’d know them for certain”. For all we can fathom, God may have morally sufficient reasons for REFRAINING from giving us certain knowledge! He may – in his wisdom – judge that the best thing to do is to keep a degree of distance and hide to an extent, because this may be the best way to ensure the maximum number of people come to repent by growing in faith and not being coerced or compelled!

    It’s possible… so why is it not the case? Sye cannot appeal to a mere possibility to support his own subjective, personal conviction that he’s got absolutely certain knowledge not just of God, but what everybody else is absolutely certain about!

    Onto the subject of whether presuppostionalism can establish a specific Christian God: it can’t. This was clear as day when Sye became stuck in a tape loop on round 2 of Unbelievable, repeating “Christ is not the conclusion, he’s the necessary starting point” ad nauseum. The first contention (“1”, that God is necessary to account for logic, truth, math and morality) can be satisfied with general theism: mind before matter. In this respect – if logic, truth and math need to come from a necessarily existent, unchanging and transcendent mind and morality from a being who is the paradigm of good by nature – Allah will do nicely. What results, from Sye’s stubborness, is the following situation:

    The two characters are Sye, but from different universes:

    Christian Sye: The Triune God is the necessary starting point, and I know it for certain.

    Muslim Sye: Allah is the necessary starting point, and I know it for certain.

    Christian Sye: No you don’t, because only the Triune God accounts for absolute truth, math, logic and morality.

    Muslim Sye: No… *YOU* don’t, because only Allah accounts for absolute truth, math, logic and morality.

    Christian Sye: Your view is incoherent, because you’re suppressing the truth!

    Muslim Sye: No… *YOUR* view is incoherent, because you’re suppressing the truth!

    Christian Sye: Look at the Koran, it’s full of errors.

    Muslim Sye: Look at the Bible, *IT’S* full of errors!

    Christian Sye: No it isn’t, that’s impossible, *YOUR* book is!

    Muslim Sye: No it isn’t, that’s impossible, *YOUR* book is!

    I think you can spot the problem. Their approaches are identical (i.e. they are both personally convinced that have certain knowledge of their own God, and that they cannot concede any ground to have evidential arguments). It’s absurd and can only be broken if one of them has the courage and humility to say “hmmm, what if I’ve actually got something wrong, let’s have a look at the evidence and the scholarship to see if I’ve missed something crucial in the fine print”.

    Of course, Sye will have none of this. He will not budge. As far as he is concerned, everybody knows the Triune God is real, and that Allah is not. You can copy and paste, literally, EVERYTHING he says about other theisms, place them into the mouth of, e.g. a Jew or Muslim, and simply replace the name of the god. He reckons he can “expose” how Islam is absurd compared to Christianity, but he’s never told us exactly how (trust me, I’ve tried to get it out of him). The most he’s said is that Islam’s incoherent because “it claims the Bible is true”. Hang on a second, Sye, what if somebody came to your Bible and started demonstrating contradictions and errors? Would you even be willing to BEGIN the conversation? Would you listen to them? Would you not just accuse them of superficial interpretation?

    Sye holds to a double standard: that it is permissible to use evidentialist methods against other beliefs (i.e. you, Mr Muslim, concede neutral ground and look at the evidence of your scriptures, and I’ll show you why Islam is wrong) but his own beliefs? Forget it. it is impossible for there to be errors in the Bible. It just is. He’s presupposed it. He already knows you believe the same thing as him. If you say differently, you are a truth-supressor and it becomes Sye’s job to “catch you out” by showing how non-Christian worldviews are incoherent. This will prompt a barrage of predictable “how do you know that?”s and “how do you account for that”s?

    Imagine a doctor who thinks he’s got the perfect tool for diagnosing disease. No matter what symptoms you have, no matter how confusing they are (no matter how tricky even the great Dr House himself would find the case) HE’S got the perfect tool. He knows it will reveal the truth about what’s going on in a patient…

    The diagnostic tool is a bent golf club. That’s it. And this is the problem with Sye’s “how do you account for that?” badgering. He thinks he’s got the perfect diagnostic tool, for showing what’s wrong with someone’s worldview and why only Christianity is the cure (an already known cure, of course). Trouble is, Sye’s justification for using these diagnostic tools is (at least) questionable, and (at most) invalid. HE has to account for why these questions connect us to Christian theism. This is something he is always reluctant to do, and he’ll dodge by saying, self-importantly, “never mind that, we’re talking about YOU and YOUR salvation”. What he doesn’t appreciate is, all his lines of questioning may be just as valid and just as useful as the hack doctor’s bent golf club. And if his opponent doesn’t see the link, why go through all that “how do you know what you know” nonsense? It’ll have no effect at all. It’s a bent golf club.

    Sye also doesn’t seem to realize (going back to modal logic) that it is entirely possible for both these contentions to be true:

    – Christianity is true

    – Sye’s apologetics is invalid

    To Sye, if you disagree with his presuppisitionalism, then you too are a truth-suppressing sinner – even if you’re a fellow Christian. In his own words, most people will reject the idea that God is known for certain because they want a “probable” God who’s less likely to order them not to sleep with their girlfriend. It’s got nothing to do with the (im)possibility of his own logic being flawed, it’s just that those who disagree hate God. I wonder what Sye would say if the clouds parted, Jesus descended, walked up to Sye, embraced him and said “I’m so happy you believe in me, I’m glad you’re trying to spread the Gospel, but we really need to have a chat about some problems in how you’re doing it”? Judging by his conduct thus far, he’d probably accuse Jesus of denying his own truth.

    WHY does God ground logic? WHY is it the Christian God? Rather than answer these, Sye just marches on and clubs you.

    And that is what lies at the heart of why Sye even seems to like doing apologetics in this way. All his extra “logic” and presuppositionalist demands for people to “account for what they know” is mere window-dressing. Ultimately, he is arrogantly convinced that he’s got God’s existence nailed in a neat little box and revels in simply doing what any other un-interssting run-of-the-mill bible-thumper likes to do: shout repeatedly, “REPENT! REPENT! REPENT! I KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW!” with no foundation (ironic in the extreme). He accuses others of wanting a God who is difficult to know, for their own convenience. I think it’s the other way round: Sye wants a God about whom there are no difficult questions, no grey areas and no possibilities for a Crisis of faith. Usually, you’ll find convenience in the easy option, rather than the hard one, and that’s what Sye has taken.

    Sye is to presuppostionalism what Ray Comfort is to natural theology with his banana. Don’t let him put you off other presuppositionalists. There are better ones out there.

  7. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    Hello Peter (Birdieupon), I really have no problem with you following me around to comment on my comments, but if you are going to do so, a little intellectual honesty would be appreciated. Your misquotes and misrepresentation of my argument only serve to further establish my point that you are suppressing the truth about the God you know for certain exists. The interesting thing about your post is your continued refusal to tell us how you account for the logic you are attempting to employ in arguing your position. You make lots of knowledge claims, but have yet to tell us how it is possible for you to know ANYTHING according to YOUR worldview. Even so, I will address some of your ‘points.’

    //”Now, to start with, this is his belief. It is his OPINION. He can shout all he wants, but ultimately it is still just a proposition that he holds to personally. He still needs to justify how he knows this.”//

    Do you know for certain that this is only my opinion Peter, or is it only your opinion that it’s my opinion? If you know if for certain, I’d like to know how you know it for certain, and if it’s only your opinion, then it’s a wee bit hypocritical wouldn’t you say?

    //”Add to this Sye’s endorsement of the Theory of Total Depravity – that humanity is so screwed up they fail to reason and are cut off from God”//

    That is not total depravity. I have never argued that people cannot reason or know things. Even those who reject God are made in His image and are able to reason. The point is that when they do so they borrow their foundation for doing so from the God they hate. Secondly, their minds are so corrupted by sin, that their reasoning is useless in coming to a saving knowledge of God, that they cannot independently reason to Him. You see, if one could reason to a saving knowledge of God, then there would be something independent, and more certain than God, – their ability to reason – and what they end up professing belief in is not God, but an idol of their own making.

    //”All of these call into question whether we actually do have “certain knowledge” of God. If anything (and as many philosophers and theologians will tell us, broadly and specifically) it seems to come down to FAITH and BELIEF – as does most “knowledge” and actions we take.”//

    Notice how Peter says: “It seems to come down to,” because he knows that if he claims to know this, then I will ask him to support his claim, and if he does not know it, then HE is the one giving arbitrary faith claims.

    //”He granted that this was true. People can be deluded into thinking they know something for certain. However, he then said that “it is not possible for certain knowledge to be uncertain” (!!?)”//

    A blatant misquote. What I said was: “It is impossible for certain REVELATION to be uncertain.” http://www.premiercommunity.org.uk/xn/detail/2060181:Comment:750870

    //”Onto the subject of whether presuppostionalism can establish a specific Christian God: it can’t.”//

    Do you know this for certain Peter? Sure looks like a claim to certainty to me. How do you know THAT for certain Peter?

    //”Hang on a second, Sye, what if somebody came to your Bible and started demonstrating contradictions and errors? Would you even be willing to BEGIN the conversation? Would you listen to them? Would you not just accuse them of superficial interpretation?”//

    Nope, I’d do the same thing I do with you. I’d deny that there are contradictions, then I’d ask how you account for the laws of logic by which you call contradictions fallacious. (And you would likely duck the question – again)(By the way, your misreperesentation of the actual argument that we had when YOU played the Muslim is pathetic – expected but still patehtic).

    //”The diagnostic tool is a bent golf club.”//

    How do you know this Peter? How do you know that the Bible is not what it claims to be?

    //”In his own words, most people will reject the idea that God is known for certain because they want a “probable” God who’s less likely to order them not to sleep with their girlfriend.”//

    Another blatant misquote. I did not say that MOST people will reject the idea that God is known for certain because they want a “probable” God, I said that SOME do and that I hope that that is in fact the minority position. (Around minute 20 of the broadcast).

    Now, I as with Nick, I do not expect Peter to ever answer this question, but Peter, how do you account for the laws of logic according to your worldview, and with that account how are you able to know what you claim to know. I’m also interested in knowing, according to your understanding of Christianity, if a person were to believe in Allah instead of God, would they have an excuse for denying the real God? If not, why not Peter?

    You see folks, God does not send people to Hell for denying what they do not know, but for sinning against the God that they know for certain exists. What I want the those who are reading along to think about is that if what I am saying is absolutely true, that Peter knows for certain that God exists, what would the argument he levels against that claim look like? It would be full of misquotes, misrepresentations, and lack of justification for one’s own claim to logic and knowledge. I submit that this is exactly what you see here.

  8. apologianick Says:

    In comes Sye thinking he’s making an argument!

    Sye: “Is it the living God or an idol which is proved by something that is more certain than God, and something which is known independently of God? If there is something by which I could prove God’s existence – that something by which I prove it would be more certain than God’s existence and could be known independently of God’s existence. But if something is more certain than God’s existence and known independently of God’s existence, it’s not the living God whose existence we are talking about.” ~ Greg Bahnsen.

    Reply: But this is talking about attitudes to propositions and not the propositions themselves. Everyone can waiver in their attitudes to any proposition at any time. As someone told me before my wife and I married in giving us advice “Sometimes you’ll go to bed at night wondering why you ever married this person.” Taking that advice into consideration, when I wrote my personal vows for my Princess, different from the vows we did at our wedding which were the traditional ones, I stated that there will be times I don’t feel like loving or wonder why I married you, may I love anyway.

    A faith that never has had to wrestle with doubt is not a faith I place much stock in. It seems more interested in an idea than a reality.

    Sye: In our discussion, I asked you repeatedly how you accounted for logic, and with YOUR account, how you could know ANYTHING. All you ever appealed to was some kind of conglomerate of the ‘gods’ of different religions, and never once answered what you know and how you are able to know it with THAT justification for logic. I submit that you never answered that question because your polytheistic approach would be exposed for its inadequacy in justifying knowledge. For those reading along, just watch to see if Nick EVER answers this question; Nick with your justification for logic (a conglomeration of ‘gods’) what do you know and how are you able to know it? Might I suggest that those reading along do not hold your collective breaths awaiting an answer.

    Reply: Sye. Exactly how little logical comprehension do you have? I stated not that I believe in a conglomerate of gods, but that different theistic systems can explain the basis for logic. When you talk about such a basis, it doesn’t rule out all theisms. You instead said that I was a polytheist and in fact you’re still saying it even though I have said I believe in one God which is all I need for logical consistency. I never even stated my worldview in that thread. You just assumed it. You think if anyone disagrees with presuppositional apologetics apparently, they can’t be a Christian.

    Now if Birdie is Peter from that same Facebook page, he and I disagree on the ontological argument. I don’t think it’s a valid argument. He does. Does that mean that I disagree on the conclusion? No. Not at all. I also realize even if valid, the ontological argument could not prove Christianity. You still haven’t learned this. The only way you’re going to prove Christianity is to appeal to evidence at some point and that is the evidence of the resurrection.

  9. apologianick Says:

    And Robe, I believe the Bible has no contradictions and any seeming contradiction can be dealt with by good exegesis.

  10. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    I sure hope that none of you are holding your breath.

  11. apologianick Says:

    Sye. You’ve been answered. Just because you don’t like the answer doesn’t make it an incorrect answer.

  12. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    I realize that you disagree with my assessment of your “generic ‘god” justification for logic, but still, cut and paste where you have answerd my question as to what you know and how you are able to know it given your ‘justification,’ and I will apologize profusely for my mistake.

    (Still don’t hold your breath folks).

  13. Jason Says:

    Logical intuitionism.

  14. apologianick Says:

    Sye. I already have. Let’s go to the three medieval figures I’ve given. First, the Muslim Avicenna. Here’s what he’d say:

    Avicenna: I root my logic in Allah who has revealed Himself to the prophet Muhammad and in the Koran. Allah is all-knowing and all powerful. He is eternal and immutable and infinite and simple. He contains every perfection in Himself.

    Then, the Christian Aquinas would say:

    Aquinas: I root my logic in the triune God who revealed Himself in Christ and in the Old and New Testaments. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He is eternal and immutable and infinite and simple. He contains every perfection in Himself.

    The Jew, Maimonides would say:

    Maimonides: I root logic in the existence of YHWH who revealed Himself to his greatest prophet Moses and in the holy Tanakh. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He is eternal and immutable and infinite and simple. He contains every perfection in Himself.

    Each of these three people would be fully consistent with their worldview and thus, each in their worldview could claim a basis for logic. Does that make each worldview true? No. That’s because while for something to be true, it needs to be consistent, it being consistent does not mean its true. Suppose there is no contradiction in the Lord of the Rings novels. Does that mean that they’re true? No.

    Consider this basic argument.

    I think the Bible is entirely true,
    Therefore, it contains no contradictions.

    I believe that is indeed sound. However, what about the opposite?

    I believe the Bible contains no contradictions,
    Therefore, it is entirely true.

    That doesn’t follow. Now for the Bible to be entirely true, it is necessary that it have no contradictions, but it is not sufficient.

    “But Allah doesn’t exist! YHWH as Maimonides thinks of Him doesn’t exist! Only Aquinas is right! God is triune!”

    Okay. I agree with that. Only Aquinas has a true worldview. However, that does not mean that Maimonides and Avicenna have no answer. If an atheist would ask all three of the thinkers “Who created the universe?” All three could say “God” and give a consistent answer to their worldview. Keep that in mind. ONLY ONE OF THEM IS RIGHT. All of them can be consistent however, but consistency does not equal truth. In fact Sye, for you to prove your worldview is consistent does not prove it is true, but as I’ve stated, if it is true, it will be consistent.

    Thus, to say there is no Allah is irrelevant for your charge to the Muslim is that he has no consistent basis for logic, but he does. What you have to show him is that his concept of God is not true. Now insofar as he uses natural theology, his concept is true. It is true that God is eternal, immutable, simple, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc. When a Muslim says that God is all those things, I agree with him. In fact, if he said Allah is all those things, I’d agree, just like I’d agree if I was told “Harry Potter has a lightning shaped scar on his forehead.” Harry Potter’s character as a concept certainly does. Allah as described in the Koran certainly does match that criteria. Now if you ask “Is the concept of Allah existent or is it the concept of the triune God revealed in Christ?” I will go with the latter.

    However, that is the issue. Can you show the concept of Allah is non-existent? The best way I know to do that is to prove the Christian view of God and the way to do that is to prove that he did reveal Himself in Christ. That is done by proving that Jesus Christ lived, walked among us, did miracles, was fully God and fully man, died, and rose again. That is also something that philosophy will never be able to do because the question of if Jesus rose again is not a philosophical one. It’s a historical one. Now the question of “Is it possible for miracles to occur like the resurrection?” is philosophical. However, the event question is historical and you HAVE to use history.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve said this and you just haven’t listened. I’ve spelled it out a lot more this time. I suspect I’ll simply see some ranting in response. The fact that you thought I was a polytheist for awhile shows me that you weren’t listening to what I was saying. You’re going to have to do that. Your argument can work for theism. I don’t know yet. I’m a philosopher. I’m still chewing on it. It cannot explicitly prove Christian theism. Philosophy never can do that and never will. For that, you need history.

    Now I’ll be out of town until Tuesday evening. My wife wants to see her family and her desires are a lot more important to me than a debate with you. I’m sure others can take up the slack for me.

  15. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    I never accuesd you of being a polytheist. I said that your ‘justification for logic was polytheistic, and asked what you could know and how you could know it with your ‘justification.’ Now, you may disagree with my assessment of your ‘justiification,’ but that does not negate the fact that you still have not told me what you know, and how you can know it with it. I have asked you time and again to tell me what you know and how you can know it, even saying that I would apologize profusely if I missed you doing so in the past. I suspected that my advice to those reading along not to hold their breath was good advice, and I see that it still is.

    I also find it very telling when I get a call from a professed atheist expressing their disgust over you slagging me in another forum.

  16. apologianick Says:

    I have some time before we leave…

    Nope. I did answer. You have not shown how it was invalid at all. Why was I not explicit in the Facebook thread? Because of the nonsense claim you made that only Christianity can support the idea of proof. I presented at least two other systems that could and there are more and told you why. You did not explain why they couldn’t. All you could say is that they weren’t true. I agree. However, they can still answer the question consistently at least.

    Sye: Okay Muslim. How do you base logic?

    Muslim: I base it in Allah who is eternal, immutable, simple, infinite, perfect, omniscient, and omnipotent.

    Sye: But Allah isn’t real!

    Muslim: Demonstrate that.

    Sye: You know you’re suppressing the truth!

    Muslim: Demonstrate that.

    That is the problem. You can’t just insist that you’re right and everyone else is wrong without giving some form of argument and it doesn’t work to tell the opponent “You know I’m right.” I don’t know how many atheists have said to me something like “I know that you know that what you believe is nonsense.” It doesn’t work with them and it won’t with you either.

    Now you want to complain about my actions. Fine. I find it incredible that you do that however after saying on the air that myself and others that use other methods are sinning. Your accusation to me and others is sinful. Mine does what? Hurts your feelings?

    Here’s how it is Sye. I don’t put up with bad arguments. I don’t care if they come from atheists or Christians. In fact, I care more if they come from Christians because Christ is not glorified by bad argumentation. I’ve called a number of Christians out because they’re using bad arguments against positions I disagree with. I don’t agree with macroevolution for instance, but I’ve called out Christians who are using bad arguments against it and told them they need to stop and when they don’t, well I’m ready to deal with them just as much because they are bringing shame to the cause.

    So here’s what you can do Sye. It’s unbelievable I’m sure, but you can actually consider that maybe some of us are right. Maybe you do have to go to the empty tomb to prove Christianity. (It’s what the apostles did after all) If you want to use what you have as an argument for theism, go at it. I haven’t said I accept it, but I haven’t said I reject it yet either. My position is not that an argument is good because it agrees with my side or disagrees with my side, but it’s good because it’s consistent and built on good premises.

    I think Anselm was a very wise man, but I don’t think the ontological argument works because you can’t get from a concept in the mind to an actuality outside the mind. I think Aquinas was the wisest of all, but I do disagree with him that an argument like the horizontal Kalam that depends on an infinite regress per accidens. I don’t see Christians as infallible because they’re Christians or atheists as necessarily wrong because they’re atheists. If an atheist and a Christian debate and I think the atheist makes the better arguments, I will say the atheist won the debate.

    What can you do now? You can actually listen to the opposing side some and maybe realize that if Christians are arguing against your stance, it is not because they don’t like your conclusion but because they don’t think the argument works like you do and you can find out why. I’ve spelled it out time and time again and frankly, spent more time on it than I should. I personally think there’s a lot to what Peter said in that if Jesus himself came and told you your argument just didn’t work, you wouldn’t listen.

    You haven’t shown me at all you’re willing to listen. Show that and there could be some respect. You don’t get it just by virtue of having an opinion. You get it by having an actual argument that you’re willing to dialogue over. Remember Sye that not getting the answer you want is not the same as not getting an answer. I wrote out a long long long post to you to explain the position. I get back only one paragraph addressing what I’ve said that really doesn’t even do that and then a second whining.

    If you want dialogue, go through what I’ve stated point by point. If there is an error in reasoning, show it. Asserting your position over and over does not count as an argument.

    Now sit down, think about what I’ve said, and take your time before you answer again. I will be away like I’ve said, but If I see just a tiny little answer like I did this time, it will reveal nothing about me but a whole lot about you.

  17. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    I realize that you disagree with my assessment of your “generic ‘god” justification for logic, but still, cut and paste where you have answerd my question as to what you know and how you are able to know it given your ‘justification,’ and I will apologize profusely for my mistake.

    (Still don’t hold your breath folks).

    P.S. Don’t be misled by Nick’s long answers folks. I’d like to know WHAT Nick knows, and HOW he is able to know it with his justification for logic. It is almost mind boggling as to how he can continue to avoid answering that question, then repeatedly claim that he has answered it. Almost.

  18. Jason Says:

    The thing about poor argumentation is that it causes me almost physical pain.

    How do we “know” anything? Generally through experience, inference, or testimony.

    There is a difference between “knowing” and “justifying.” Epistemology versus ontology. The most obvious examples of these are in moral philosophy. We ascribe to acts like rape the property of moral wrongness, but how do we know that?

    We can know it, but we may not be able to justify it. Some people try to argue from a materialistic position, others from a theistic position. On the whole I’d say theistic arguments work better.

    As already said though, cosmological, teleological, moral arguments etc can lead to a theistic position, but they cannot lead directly to Christianity. That is why people generally refer to the god of philosophy ie the god who has the properties inferred from the philosophical arguments, eternality, omnipotence, omniscience etc. In this particular case it would be the aspect of logical consistency.

    Would the Christian God provide a basis for logic? Yes.

    Would others? Maybe. To eliminate them in this respect would require showing from their own teachings that they were logically inconsistent. Even then it may be found that the God in question could be logically basic, indeed YHWH would be found to be so, but that wouldn’t make the unbelieving Jew correct (or completely correct).

    Is there a short cut to establishing Christianity as true? Yes. That argument is a historical one establishing the truth of the gospels in their records of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. If the Christian God can be reasonably shown to have acted in human history then whether or not the other deities can be found to be logically basic is quite irrelevant.

    Step 1. Establishing the reasonableness of theism.
    Step 2. Establishing the truth of Christianity.

    The first step is philosophical, the second is historical.

    Hand waves and other evasions are not an answer.

  19. apologianick Says:

    Sye. Again I answer that I take it as self-evident that I exist and the external world does as well. I believe the world is knowable and have no reason to think otherwise. Using that reason I can arrive at the God of the philosophers that is the basis for logic.

    We’ve supposedly heard much about foundationalism in array. No one’s shown it yet.

  20. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”Again I answer that I take it as self-evident that I exist and the external world does as well.”//

    I’m not asking what you take as self-evident Nick, I’m asking what you know and how you are able to know it.

  21. apologianick Says:

    Are you unfamiliar with foundationalism?

  22. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”Are you unfamiliar with foundationalism?”//

    Quite familliar with it actually. Problem with foundationalism is that without God you can’t justify ANY foundation and therefore cannot justify ANYTHING you claim to know, which is why I ask yet again, what do you know and how are you able to know it?

  23. apologianick Says:

    But Sye, that’s just saying foundationalism is wrong because it’s not your position. It’s begging the question. Give your argument against foundationalism.

  24. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”But Sye, that’s just saying foundationalism is wrong because it’s not your position.”//

    Not at all Nick, I am asking you to tell me what you know and how you can know it with YOUR position, and I’ll show you why it’s wrong. I can’t critique your foundationalism until you tell me your foundation.

  25. apologianick Says:

    Okay Sye. Let me make sure of your claim. Give me your understanding of foundationalism.

  26. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    Foundationalism : The view in epistemology that knowledge must be regarded as a structure raised upon secure, certain foundations. ~ Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy.

  27. apologianick Says:

    Congratulations! You can cut and paste from a dictionary!

    But in medieval times, if you were to refute a position, you had to say that position in your own words to your opponent’s satisfaction. Just telling me a definition doesn’t tell me that you understand the position. It just tells me you can read.

  28. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    My understanding of foundationalism comports with the dictionary definition. Quit dodging.

    //”But in medieval times, if you were to refute a position, you had to say that position in your own words to your opponent’s satisfaction.”//

    As I have said, I cannot critique YOUR foundationalism until you tell me YOUR foundation.

    (And I did not cut and paste, I typed it our from my dictionary 🙂

  29. apologianick Says:

    Oh! You typed it instead! Well that makes all the difference!

    Um. No.

    I asked you for your understanding of foundationalism and not just a definition. I’m still waiting.

  30. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    My understanding of foundationalism is that it is the view that knowledge must be based on certain foundations. In order for me to critique your claim to knowledge, I need to know the foundation upon which you base your claim. If YOU knew anything about foundationalism, you would know that not all foundationalists claim the same foundation, that is why I am asking for yours.

    I can’t make it any simpler than that Nick. Perhaps it would be easier if you told me which particular word you were having trouble with.

  31. apologianick Says:

    No. Not all foundationalists claim the exact same foundations but they all claim the same kind of mindset on knowledge. Hence, they can all fall under the same category. The idea is that there are some types of knowledge that are known and I would say these are derived from sense experience rather than rationalistic principles like Descartes’s. Now if you think you know the idea well, then surely you can say what is wrong with it.

  32. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”The idea is that there are some types of knowledge that are known and I would say these are derived from sense experience”//

    The problem with YOUR foundation of “sense experience’ is that you cannot justify the validity of your senses, the memory which with you remembered what you sensed, the reasoning with which you reasoned about what you sensed, the laws of logic you used in your reasoning, and the inductive principle (to name but a few) are valid without being VICIOUSLY circular. To claim that they are “incorrigibly” held does not validate them. A person suffering from the DTs may not be able to give up his belief that there are snakes on the bed, but that does not mean that there are snakes on the bed.

    Besides, Christians are to have God as their foundation for knowledge (Proverbs 1:7, Collosians 2:3), NOT their sense experience. In 2 Peter 1:19 the apostle states that prophesy is “more sure” than even eye-witness accounts, so not only is your foundation inadequate, it is un-Christian.

  33. apologianick Says:

    I cannot justify them? Why not? I believe I am sensing what I am sensing now. Why should I play the Cartesian game of “Well can you absolutely certainly prove that?” Not my position. My position is simple realism and I don’t accept the idealist starting point. You give me a reason why I should.

    For instance, a person suffering may not convince us that there are snakes on the bed, but I don’t need any convincing that he believes there are snakes on the bed. Tell you what Sye. You argue with him that he does not believe that.

    As for the Scripture you’ve given, Proverbs is not about knowledge in the scientific or technical sense but in the practical sense. If you really want to live wisely, fear God. Colossians 2:3 states that in God all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge exist. I agree with that. What’s the problem?

    For 2 Peter, what he says is that the Word of God is more certain. He could point to an experience, but that is not as powerful as prophesy. No problem. However, his knowledge of the prophecy comes through sense experience, such as hearing the Word of God or seeing and reading it. No one in my position says sense experience alone but that on the receiving end, sense experience is the start.

    And I see you’re throwing around your “unChristian” card. I find it amusing you accuse me of being circular but when on the broadcast you were accused of making a circular argument you said “What’s wrong with that?” The usual for Sye. He makes the rules and everyone else must follow them.

  34. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”I believe I am sensing what I am sensing now.”//

    For the purpose of this discussion, I could not care less what you believe, I want to know what you know and your position does not amount to knowledge.

    //”However, his knowledge of the prophecy comes through sense experience, such as hearing the Word of God or seeing and reading it.”//

    Um no. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 16: 15-17)

    //”No one in my position says sense experience alone but that on the receiving end, sense experience is the start.”//

    Not for a Christian. For if our senses were to tell us that there is something inconsistent with the existence of God, we would believe Him over our senses.

    //”And I see you’re throwing around your “unChristian” card. I find it amusing you accuse me of being circular but when on the broadcast you were accused of making a circular argument you said “What’s wrong with that?”//

    Your quote-mining is pathetic. I said that IF PAUL were to say that the argument is circular I would say “What’s wrong with that?” BECAUSE HE has no absolute standard of logic by which he can make ANY claims against ANY circularity. ALL ultimate authority claims must have a degree of circularity, but not all (read only one) is valid. My point is that YOUR position is not only circular, it is VICIOUSLY circular. Greg Bahnsen writes:

    “In the Christian worldview, however, the Christian is not engaged in viciously circular argument, a circular argument on the same plane. We appeal above and beyond the temporal realm. God’s self-revelation in nature and in Scripture informs us of the two-level universe. God is not a fact like other facts in the world. He is the Creator and Establisher of all else. His existence alone makes the universe, and reason, and human experience possible… … The “circularity” of a transcendental argument is not at all the same as the fallacious ‘circularity’ of an argument in which the conclusion is a restatement (in one form or another) of one of its premises.” ~ (Pushing the Antithesis pg. 124).

    Now I realize that you dislike me, but please abandon your unChristian pathetic argument and deal with your dislike for me another time.

  35. apologianick Says:

    Sye: For the purpose of this discussion, I could not care less what you believe, I want to know what you know and your position does not amount to knowledge.

    Reply: Fine. I know I am experiencing the sensation right now (Or rather at the time of this typing) of replying to you. I know that I am a rational animal. I know that the physical world exists.

    Sye: Um no. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 16: 15-17)

    Reply: Note Peter said the word of prophecy was made certain and that comes through reading the Bible. Peter knew about the Messiah from Scripture. That the Father revealed that Jesus is the Messiah was based on a prior understanding of the Messiah from Scripture and not a priori. The text does not say how it was revealed nor is it particularly relevant. That God can reveal something specific does not go against my system.

    Sye: Not for a Christian. For if our senses were to tell us that there is something inconsistent with the existence of God, we would believe Him over our senses.

    Reply: No. We simply evaluate the data we have. I’m not afraid to evaluate data because I am certain that Christianity is true. I have already dealt amply with the so-called problem of evil elsewhere. Are you saying you’d be afraid to look at the world since that would tell you God doesn’t exist supposedly? Romans 1:20 says the opposite.

    Sye: Your quote-mining is pathetic. I said that IF PAUL were to say that the argument is circular I would say “What’s wrong with that?” BECAUSE HE has no absolute standard of logic by which he can make ANY claims against ANY circularity. ALL ultimate authority claims must have a degree of circularity, but not all (read only one) is valid. My point is that YOUR position is not only circular, it is VICIOUSLY circular. Greg Bahnsen writes:

    “In the Christian worldview, however, the Christian is not engaged in viciously circular argument, a circular argument on the same plane. We appeal above and beyond the temporal realm. God’s self-revelation in nature and in Scripture informs us of the two-level universe. God is not a fact like other facts in the world. He is the Creator and Establisher of all else. His existence alone makes the universe, and reason, and human experience possible… … The “circularity” of a transcendental argument is not at all the same as the fallacious ‘circularity’ of an argument in which the conclusion is a restatement (in one form or another) of one of its premises.” ~ (Pushing the Antithesis pg. 124).

    Reply: This is hysterical. Thanks for providing the quote and saving me from looking it up. You admit your position is circular. Having any fun dealing with the problem of the criterion?

    Sye: Now I realize that you dislike me, but please abandon your unChristian pathetic argument and deal with your dislike for me another time.

    Reply: Oh boy. Here it goes. Sorry. Like and dislike has nothing to do with it. I deal with arguments simply. I don’t care if you’re a sinner or a saint. I care about your argument and your claim was that this was unChristian. You’re the one here casting around cards of personal character. Not me.

  36. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”Fine. I know I am experiencing the sensation right now (Or rather at the time of this typing) of replying to you. I know that I am a rational animal. I know that the physical world exists.”//

    How do you know these things Nick?

    //”That God can reveal something specific does not go against my system.”//

    It was not revealed by flesh or blood nick. Methinks you need flesh and blood for your senses.

    //”No. We simply evaluate the data we have. I’m not afraid to evaluate data because I am certain that Christianity is true.”//

    I’m not afraid to evaluate data either, but everyone evaluates data subject to their presuppositions, which do not come by evaluating data. If your certainty is based on the data and your reasoning about it, then God is subject to your reasoning, rather than Lord of it.

    //”You admit your position is circular.”//

    Not viciously circular like yours though.

    //”Like and dislike has nothing to do with it.”//

    I was actually afraid of that.

    //” I deal with arguments simply.”//

    No kidding.

  37. apologianick Says:

    Sye: How do you know these things Nick?

    Reply: Don’t know. So what? I’m not a Cartesian nor am I a Pyrrhonian Skeptic. It’s up to you to tell me why I should not be sure I know them. I just start out with knowing them and then work on why it is that I know them. I put what I know before the method of knowing, which Descartes should have done.

    Sye: It was not revealed by flesh or blood nick. Methinks you need flesh and blood for your senses.

    Reply: It’s so amazing. The Mormons have told me that I need to go by revelation instead of sense experience when they visit me also.

    Sye: I’m not afraid to evaluate data either, but everyone evaluates data subject to their presuppositions, which do not come by evaluating data.

    Reply: Why should I believe this?

    Sye: If your certainty is based on the data and your reasoning about it, then God is subject to your reasoning, rather than Lord of it.

    Reply: No. God is the object of my knowledge and at the same time the Lord of my knowledge. When I am praying to God, that is not saying God is not the Lord of prayer. God insofar as we mean an idea can be said to be true or false to a person. As a reality, he cannot be. An atheist is wrong if they say “God does not exist” although they are right if they say they do not believe in the idea of God.

    Again, the Mormons send their thinks for they say you need a revelation as well.

    Sye: Not viciously circular like yours though.

    Reply: It’d be good of you to show that. Duly noted you ignored references to Scripture that I addressed also.

    Sye: I was actually afraid of that.

    Reply: Oh! I get it! You’re more concerned about how someone feels about you and how you feel about them than you are about the truth of what is stated.

    I oppose your view simply because I think it brings shame to Christ. I have atheists who I like who I definitely oppose their view. Whether I like or dislike someone is irrelevant to their views. I have atheists I count as good friends and Christians that annoy me to no end.

    Sye: No kidding.

    Reply: Yep. No kidding. That’s the point. Deal with the argument.

  38. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”Don’t know. So what? “//

    Simply you cannot justify any of your knowledge claims with your “sense experience” foundationalism, which is exactly my point.

    //”It’s so amazing. The Mormons have told me that I need to go by revelation instead of sense experience when they visit me also.”//

    Strawman

    //”Reply: Why should I believe this?”//

    Why should you believe that your presuppostions do not come by evaluating data??? Surely you jest? Do you even know what a presupposition is?

    //”No. God is the object of my knowledge and at the same time the Lord of my knowledge.”//

    Hardly. It is your position that YOU are the ultimate authority, not God (scroll up).

    //”An atheist is wrong if they say “God does not exist” although they are right if they say they do not believe in the idea of God.”//

    How do you know that an atheist is right if they say that they do not believe in the idea of God?

    //”It’d be good of you to show that.”//

    Since sense experience is your ultimate authority, you have nothing to validate it other than sense experience, which is viciously circular. You must say: “I sense that my sense experiences are valid.” If you appeal to anything else, then your sense experience is not ultimate (as you claim).

    //”Oh! I get it! You’re more concerned about how someone feels about you and how you feel about them than you are about the truth of what is stated.”//

    No, I was hoping that you denied my position out of a dislike for me, and not out of what you would call “reasoning.” The latter is more difficult to correct.

    //”I oppose your view simply because I think it brings shame to Christ.”//

    Putting your sense experience ABOVE Christ, is somehow less shameful than putting Christ above EVERYTHING? Riiiiiiiight.

  39. apologianick Says:

    Sye: Simply you cannot justify any of your knowledge claims with your “sense experience” foundationalism, which is exactly my point.

    Reply: It’s up to you to explain why I need to state a reason to not believe that I am experiencing X or that I am a rational animal. That’s the Cartesian method. I see no reason to accept it.

    Sye: Strawman

    Reply: Why should I believe that?

    Sye: Why should you believe that your presuppostions do not come by evaluating data??? Surely you jest? Do you even know what a presupposition is?

    Reply: Yes I do. Hence, I ask my question, although it seems interesting that you think what a presupposition is should be counted as knowledge….

    Sye: Hardly. It is your position that YOU are the ultimate authority, not God (scroll up).

    Reply: Scrolling up. Don’t see that. Want to point it out?

    Sye: How do you know that an atheist is right if they say that they do not believe in the idea of God?

    Reply: Because that is what an atheist is. An atheist is a person who says there is no God.

    Sye: Since sense experience is your ultimate authority, you have nothing to validate it other than sense experience, which is viciously circular.

    Reply: False. Sense experience is not my ultimate authority but my starting point for knowledge.

    Sye: You must say: “I sense that my sense experiences are valid.” If you appeal to anything else, then your sense experience is not ultimate (as you claim).

    Reply: My sense experiences are valid. I have seen no reason to think otherwise.

    Sye: No, I was hoping that you denied my position out of a dislike for me, and not out of what you would call “reasoning.” The latter is more difficult to correct.

    Reply: Yes. It’s far easier to deal with someone on an emotional level. Suppose I think you’re the best guy in the world. Does that deal with the argument? No. Suppose I think you’re a total jerk. Does that deal with the argument? No.

    Sye: Putting your sense experience ABOVE Christ, is somehow less shameful than putting Christ above EVERYTHING? Riiiiiiiight.

    Reply: Not my position. What’s putting shame to Christ is using bad reasoning like yours.

  40. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”It’s up to you to explain why I need to state a reason to not believe that I am experiencing X or that I am a rational animal.”//

    Where did your sense experiences tell you that it’s up to me, and how do you know that they are giving you valid information?

    //” Hence, I ask my question, although it seems interesting that you think what a presupposition is should be counted as knowledge”//

    Um, no. Presuppositions are those foundational perspectives by which we evaluate evidence. Your presupposition is that your sense experience is basically reliable, but your sense experience cannot tell you that it is – hence your justification for your foundation is viciously circular.

    //”Scrolling up. Don’t see that. Want to point it out?”//

    Glad to. Nick said: “Not all foundationalists claim the exact same foundations but they all claim the same kind of mindset on knowledge. Hence, they can all fall under the same category. The idea is that there are some types of knowledge that are known and I would say these are derived from sense experience rather than rationalistic principles like Descartes’s.”

    Your foundation is not God, it is your sense experience.

    Sye: “How do you know that an atheist is right if they say that they do not believe in the idea of God?”
    Nick: “Because that is what an atheist is. An atheist is a person who says there is no God.”

    We were not talking about what they say, but about what they believe. Scripture tells us that they do believe, but are “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1: 18-21). Nice try though.

    //”Sense experience is not my ultimate authority but my starting point for knowledge.”//

    Exactly, God is not your starting point for knowledge, you are, contrary to Proverbs 1:7, and Colossians 2:2,3 and exactly what Paul cautioned against in Colossians 2: 8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” And again in 1 Timothy 6:20,21: “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.”

    //” My sense experiences are valid.”//

    How do you know?

    //” I have seen no reason to think otherwise.”//

    Fallacy of argument from ignorance.

    //” What’s putting shame to Christ is using bad reasoning like yours.”//

    I have no problem letting the record stand as is. It is painfully clear, you are your own ultimate authority, and Christ is not, unless your profession is inconsistent with your ‘reasoning’ here, and I really hope that it is.

  41. apologianick Says:

    Sye: Where did your sense experiences tell you that it’s up to me, and how do you know that they are giving you valid information?

    Reply: Please stop embarrassing yourself. To say all knowledge begins with sense experience is not the same as saying knowledge is sense experience. The reason abstracts from sense experience to the knowledge that it ought to have. Reason tells me it’s self-evident that I am experiencing what I am experiencing and since I am not a skeptic or Cartesian, I will hold to that. Again, if you want to do a “Brain in a Vat” argument, it’s up to you to demonstrate that.

    Sye: Um, no. Presuppositions are those foundational perspectives by which we evaluate evidence. Your presupposition is that your sense experience is basically reliable, but your sense experience cannot tell you that it is – hence your justification for your foundation is viciously circular.

    Reply: As a former Platonist, wrong again. My presupposition changed based upon information that I received. Hence, one can change their presuppositions. Note that I say knowledge begins with sense experience, but it does not stay there.

    Sye: Glad to. Nick said: “Not all foundationalists claim the exact same foundations but they all claim the same kind of mindset on knowledge. Hence, they can all fall under the same category. The idea is that there are some types of knowledge that are known and I would say these are derived from sense experience rather than rationalistic principles like Descartes’s.”

    Your foundation is not God, it is your sense experience.

    Reply: *Yawn* The foundation is not the same as the authority. Is it really that hard to grasp such a concept? Do you want to throw out more accusations?

    Sye: We were not talking about what they say, but about what they believe. Scripture tells us that they do believe, but are “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1: 18-21). Nice try though.

    Reply: Oh yes. I know this passage. It’s the one you keep ignoring. It also says the fool says in his heart there is no God. What happens with an atheist is they become so caught up they believe the lie, kind of like 2 Thess. 2 says.

    Sye: Exactly, God is not your starting point for knowledge, you are, contrary to Proverbs 1:7,

    Reply: This passage is about practical wisdom. It’s not about knowledge.

    Sye: and Colossians 2:2,3

    Reply: The passage says all wisdom and knowledge is in God. It says nothing about the starting point of knowledge.

    Sye: and exactly what Paul cautioned against in Colossians 2: 8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

    Reply: Paul tells you what those philosophies are. The Colossian heresy was dealing with gnosticism and asceticism. Interesting that Gnosticism would make a point to discount sense experience, which you are doing here.

    Sye: And again in 1 Timothy 6:20,21: “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.”

    Reply: This says nothing about sense experience but is talking about avoiding untrue ideas.

    Sye: How do you know?

    Reply: I am not a Cartesian. Do you have a reason I should doubt the general reliability of sense experience?

    Sye: Fallacy of argument from ignorance.

    Reply: The argument from ignorance is also when there is no positive evidence. Considering as I am able to function in the world through what I receive from my senses, I am justified in my belief.

    Sye: I have no problem letting the record stand as is. It is painfully clear, you are your own ultimate authority, and Christ is not, unless your profession is inconsistent with your ‘reasoning’ here, and I really hope that it is.

    Reply: You keep asserting this, but give no reason to believe it.

  42. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”Please stop embarrassing yourself. To say all knowledge begins with sense experience is not the same as saying knowledge is sense experience.”//

    And I said this where?

    //”The reason abstracts from sense experience to the knowledge that it ought to have.”//

    Huh?

    //”Reason tells me it’s self-evident that I am experiencing what I am experiencing and since I am not a skeptic or Cartesian, I will hold to that.”//

    Problem is those whose reasoning is invalid can say exactly the same thing.

    //”Again, if you want to do a “Brain in a Vat” argument, it’s up to you to demonstrate that.”//

    Nope, just asking you to account for knowledge, which you cannot do.

    //”My presupposition changed based upon information that I received.”//

    Nope, your presupposition that YOU are the authority is still the same.

    //”*Yawn* The foundation is not the same as the authority.”//

    Alright, what is your ultimate authority, God or your sense experience?

    //”Oh yes. I know this passage. It’s the one you keep ignoring. It also says the fool says in his heart there is no God.”//

    Um no, that is from Psalm 14.

    //”This passage is about practical wisdom. It’s not about knowledge.”//

    Well, since you start with knowledge OUTSIDE of God, I can see why you would interpret the passage that way.

    //”The passage says all wisdom and knowledge is in God. It says nothing about the starting point of knowledge.”//

    Well since you start with knowledge OUTSIDE of God, I can see why you would interpret the passage that way.

    //”Paul tells you what those philosophies are.”//

    Yip, based on the world, and not on Christ.

    //” The Colossian heresy was dealing with gnosticism and asceticism. Interesting that Gnosticism would make a point to discount sense experience, which you are doing here.”//

    I do not deny sense experience, God is simply of a higher authority in my worldview.

    //”This says nothing about sense experience but is talking about avoiding untrue ideas.”//

    Well since you start with knowledge OUTSIDE of God, I can see why you would interpret the passage that way.

    //”I am not a Cartesian. Do you have a reason I should doubt the general reliability of sense experience?”//

    Irrelevant. What is your basis for trusting it?
    .
    //”The argument from ignorance is also when there is no positive evidence. Considering as I am able to function in the world through what I receive from my senses, I am justified in my belief.”//

    Your “positive evidence” is viciously circular. You are using your senses to determine that your senses are trustworthy.

    //”You keep asserting this, but give no reason to believe it.”//

    You keep stating it.

  43. apologianick Says:

    Sye: And I said this where?

    Reply: When you asked when my sense experiences said it’s up to you. Sense experiences only convey the information that the reason works with. Until sense experience, there is nothing for reason to work with.

    Sye: Huh?

    Reply: What is so hard about that? If you want to criticize Thomism, you need to understand it first.

    Sye: Problem is those whose reasoning is invalid can say exactly the same thing.

    Reply: And who would these people be who are invalid in thinking they are experiencing something?

    Sye: Nope, just asking you to account for knowledge, which you cannot do.

    Reply: I’ve already done it. Knoweldge is of being. It is gained by reasoning through information obtained through the senses. Not liking the answer is not the same as saying it’s wrong.

    Sye: Nope, your presupposition that YOU are the authority is still the same.

    Reply: Just an ad hominem. No Sye. I am not the final authority.

    Sye: Alright, what is your ultimate authority, God or your sense experience?

    Reply: All knowledge is in God but there are different ways of getting to knowledge. If I want to understand the inner workings of the human body, the improper way to do it is to just pray and ask God to show me. The best way is to take a course in medicine and cut open a cadaver. If I want to study the so-called mind/body problem, philosophy is my best route. If I want to study a gunshot in flight, I go to physics. If I want to study the God revealed in Christ, I go to Scripture and I can use any other area to inform another. Now nothing can be true without God knowing it, but God has given us various means of discovering truth. Perhaps you should read Gilson on this.

    Sye: Um no, that is from Psalm 14.

    Reply: It refers to the whole of Scripture.

    Sye: Well, since you start with knowledge OUTSIDE of God, I can see why you would interpret the passage that way.

    Reply: Ad hominem. The book of Proverbs is about good decision making. It’s the way to live. It’s not meant to give theological knowledge, although there is some in there.

    Sye: Well since you start with knowledge OUTSIDE of God, I can see why you would interpret the passage that way.

    Reply: Hi Sye. This is where you actually respond to my interpretation and not just again assert that yours is right.

    Sye: Yip, based on the world, and not on Christ.

    Reply: And that was Gnosticism, asceticism, and the Colossae heresy that was made up of those.

    Sye: I do not deny sense experience, God is simply of a higher authority in my worldview.

    Reply: Okay Sye. Here’s what I want you to do. Next time you get in a car to drive somewhere, close your eyes. The whole way, you are to pray and let God tell you where to go. Don’t trust a lower authority like sense experience.

    Sye: Well since you start with knowledge OUTSIDE of God, I can see why you would interpret the passage that way.

    Reply: I think someone said something here that’s meant to look like a reply.

    Sye: Irrelevant. What is your basis for trusting it?

    Reply: Are you this uninformed? I am not a Cartesian. I accept reason as the starting point. Are you going to use reason to appeal to my reason to not accept reason?

    Sye: Your “positive evidence” is viciously circular. You are using your senses to determine that your senses are trustworthy.

    Reply: It’s odd. I determined the chair I’m sitting in was trustworthy by sitting on it. “That’s Circular!”

    Sye: You keep stating it.

    Reply: Only in Sye Land.

  44. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    You never did answer my question as to what your ultimate authority was, God or your sense experience. That’s what all this bolis down to. Well? If you can’t give me a direct answer, just say so.

  45. apologianick Says:

    God is Sye. Is it too hard of you to grasp that someone can be a fully devoted Christian and NOT be a presuppositionalist and even think that it’s a bad technique?

  46. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”God is Sye. “//

    Great, then we agree.

    //”Is it too hard of you to grasp that someone can be a fully devoted Christian and NOT be a presuppositionalist and even think that it’s a bad technique?”//

    Irrelevant, I just demonstrated that you ARE a presuppositionalist, just not a consistent one.

  47. apologianick Says:

    No. I don’t presuppose God. I believe in God because I believe He has revealed Himself in Scripture, in Christ, through natural order, and through just being.

  48. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”No. I don’t presuppose God.”//

    Either He is your ultimate authority, or He is not, you can’t have it both ways (as much as you try).

    If you can reason to God autonomously, then it is not God that you reason to, but an idol that is subject to your reasoning, rather than God who is Lord of it. If it is a reasoning process by which we come to a knowledge of God, then according to that line of reasoning, a person would have an excuse for denying God if they were still in the reasoing process or if they made in error in reasoning. The reason that people are without excuse is becasue God is known IMMEDIATELY not MEDIATELY.

  49. apologianick Says:

    Sye. Again, you really need to listen to what is being said to you and you’re not. For one thing, I do not believe you can know the Christian God through just reason alone. Neither would Aquinas. No one can truly know God as He is aside from special revelation. However, someone can know that there is a God and some of his attributes from general revelation as stated in Romans 1:20. You’re equivocating on the concept of God and your idea that if reason can lead you to knowledge of God then that means God is subject to reasoning just doesn’t make sense.

  50. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”However, someone can know that there is a God and some of his attributes from general revelation as stated in Romans 1:20.”//

    Can they know or do they know, and is that knolwedge mediate or immediate?

  51. apologianick Says:

    They can know and note that the Apostle speaks of what can be known about God, and I believe known through general revelation. Of course, immediate revelation such as Scripture or Christ is different. For the time being, I am thinking of someone like the pre-Christian pagan.

    That knowledge is then mediate and that knowledge is also highly fragmentary. However, it is enough light that they can know that there is a God and they can know of his power and knowledge and thus should know “We ought to do what is right.” Do note that Paul says in Romans 2 that we can know right and wrong apart from the law. I agree with the atheist if he means “You don’t need to believe in God to be good.” I believe God must exist to provide sense to goodness, but one must not know him to be able to know right from wrong.

    I would suggest reading question 1 of article 1 of the Summa Theologica.

  52. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    So, do those who can know, but do not know, have an excuse when they stand before God? If not, why not?

  53. apologianick Says:

    They have no excuse. Why? Because they did not go by the light that they have. It is my view that God will judge by the light that they have. Now rest assured that they will be found guilty if they do not follow the light they have and lead sinful lives, but it could be they will be judged less severely than those with more knowledge. The severity of judgment is different from the certainty of judgment.

  54. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”It is my view that God will judge by the light that they have.”//

    The light that they have? Isn’t that just another way of saying that they will be judged on what they DO know, rather than on what they CAN know? You said that they CAN know, not that they DO know.

    So, we agree that they DO have knowledge. Now, is the knowledge that the professed unbeliever has mediate or immediate?

  55. apologianick Says:

    Moving too fast again Sye. Slow down before saying that we agree on something. My Seminary has many books in it. There are definitely far more than I can read in my lifetime. Thus, I have access to much knowledge, but whether I obtain to that knowledge or not is my responsibility. I could go and never read a single book in there, but that would not change that the knowledge was available to me.

    Thus, my position is still the same. They are judged by the light they have and how they respond to it. I can go on and state I do not believe in a priori knowledge. The knowledge they have begins with sense experience and while it can lead to some knowledge of God, that knowledge is indeed highly fragmentary and highly inadequate compared to special knowledge like Scripture, the incarnation, or perhaps some miracles done such as for Abraham, Moses, and other figures that did not have Scripture.

  56. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    So we do not agree that they have knowledge??? Alright, what exactly do you mean by “the light they have?” Don’t you mean then that they have access to light?

  57. apologianick Says:

    They can have knowledge. That knowledge would be fragmentary and not a priori. By ignoring the light, they are suppressing it.

    You see Sye, my problem with you is not mainly theological but epistemological. It relies on a philosophical system I find problematic, such as Cartesian and Kantian characteristics that I see and I as a Thomist do not accept them. The argument is mainly there. You and I probably agree on much theology, but my dispute is the philosophy. Note I even dispute the ontological argument as much as I agree with its conclusion. The conclusion of an argument to me is irrelevant. It’s validity is all that matters.

    Now I can suspect that this will be my last post of the evening. However, my respect I will say is growing simply due to that it seems like you’re asking questions to begin to understand my view and I will have my own in turn. This will be the last of the night however due to it being late and my wife and I wanting to go to bed and I do not do debate on Sunday. One can expect a new blog, but not a response. That will wait until sometime Monday at the earliest.

  58. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //” However, my respect I will say is growing simply due to that it seems like you’re asking questions to begin to understand my view”//

    Sorry to burst that bubble, but I am not asking questions to understand your view, but to expose it. Now, back to my question, what exactly do you mean by they HAVE light? Why do you replace the word “knowledge” with “light” anyways? Don’t you mean that they CAN HAVE light? And if they CAN HAVE knowledge, but do not, how are they without excuse? How can they suppress what they do not have?

  59. Nick Says:

    Light is a metaphorical term. You are treating the access to knowledge the same as knowledge. If they have access to knowledge and they do not follow through, then it is their own fault for not searching.

  60. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    But you said THE LIGHT THAT THEY HAVE, not THE THE LIGHT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO. Which is it? And how can you suppress that which you do not have?

  61. Nick Says:

    Light means that they have the opportunity to get the knowledge. It is their fault if they do not pursue the truth. They also do suppress what is before them in fact. Creation does say that there is a God and a non-theist will look at that and seek to find another explanation.

  62. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    So, they are “without excuse” for suppressing what they do not have? That is clearly NOT what Romans 1 teaches:

    “For although they KNEW God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (v 21 – Capitalization mine) NOT “for although THEY COULD HAVE KNOWN GOD.”

    “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (v 25) They did not exhange the truth THEY COULD ACCESS for a lie.

    they are “haters of God” (v 30) NOT haters of a generic ‘god’ that they have access to.

    “they know God’s decree” (v 32) NOT they have access to God’s decree.

    You see, if it is only knowledge that they “have access to” not only is Romans 1 false, but surely they could have an excuse due to an error in reasoning in accessing the knowledge that they ‘could have.’ At what point would they become responsible for not accessing that knowledge anyways, and how are they accountable for disregarding evidence that does not comport with their presuppositions? Sorry Nick, but your position is not logical, and it is not Biblical.

  63. apologianick Says:

    Sye: So, they are “without excuse” for suppressing what they do not have? That is clearly NOT what Romans 1 teaches:

    Reply: Clearly. Whew. Well Sye says it so that settles it.

    Sye: “For although they KNEW God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (v 21 – Capitalization mine) NOT “for although THEY COULD HAVE KNOWN GOD.”

    Reply: Correct. That is the case of human history. Man went away from God and thus chose to turn to polytheism.

    Sye: “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (v 25) They did not exhange the truth THEY COULD ACCESS for a lie.

    Reply: False. To say they exchanged the truth does not mean that they knew the truth. It means they chose to go against the truth rather knowingly or unknowingly.

    Sye: they are “haters of God” (v 30) NOT haters of a generic ‘god’ that they have access to.

    Reply: Ah. So am I to assume that the polytheistic nations knew all along that God is a Trinity?

    Sye: “they know God’s decree” (v 32) NOT they have access to God’s decree.

    Reply: This is about the moral law. Romans 2 says all have the moral law.

    Sye: You see, if it is only knowledge that they “have access to” not only is Romans 1 false, but surely they could have an excuse due to an error in reasoning in accessing the knowledge that they ‘could have.’ At what point would they become responsible for not accessing that knowledge anyways, and how are they accountable for disregarding evidence that does not comport with their presuppositions? Sorry Nick, but your position is not logical, and it is not Biblical.

    Reply: At what point? At the point that they’re at. If someone fails an exam because they did not study when the textbook was right there before them, then they are always guilty. God’s text of creation is always available and if they fail to heed that, why think they’ll listen to more?

  64. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”To say they exchanged the truth does not mean that they knew the truth.”//

    Example please.

    //”Ah. So am I to assume that the polytheistic nations knew all along that God is a Trinity?”//

    Nope, just that they knew THE God, who IS a Trinity. If they did not know THE God, then surely they would have an excuse?

    //”This is about the moral law. Romans 2 says all have the moral law.”//

    Don’t you mean they all COULD HAVE the moral law? Why all of a sudden to they HAVE the moral law? And how can they have a moral law without a moral law giver that they know?

    //”If someone fails an exam because they did not study when the textbook was right there before them, then they are always guilty.”//

    What if they die at the beginning of the exam Nick, do they have an excuse for not passing it?

  65. apologianick Says:

    Sye: Example please.

    Reply: Any time someone chooses to believe a theory contrary to the truth, they are doing that to an extent.

    Sye: Nope, just that they knew THE God, who IS a Trinity. If they did not know THE God, then surely they would have an excuse?

    Reply: Ah. So they knew enough from general revelation but they could not be known from special revelation. They could know some things about God but not what was revealed through special revelation.

    Thanks for making my case.

    And again, they are without excuse for ignoring the information they had.

    Sye: Don’t you mean they all COULD HAVE the moral law? Why all of a sudden to they HAVE the moral law? And how can they have a moral law without a moral law giver that they know?

    Reply: No. I mean they do have the moral law. Even Aquinas said that there are points of morality that you can’t not know. There are some you can convince yourself otherwise, but there are some you can’t simply by being a rational animal. I say have because the moral law does not require special revelation neither does creation. Special knowledge of God however requires special revelation.

    Sye: What if they die at the beginning of the exam Nick, do they have an excuse for not passing it?

    Reply: I do not believe the text has anything to say about those who die before an age of accountability. Keep in mind Paul is describing the history of paganism. It is an American mindset to individualize the text.

  66. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    Look Nick, I asked for an example of when someone “exchanges the truth for a lie, without knowing the truth.” You say that this happens whenever someone CHOOSES to believe a theory contrary to the truth. I’m looking for a specific example, please try again. Please give a specific example of when someone EXCHANGES the truth for a lie. How are they EXCHANGING trut for a lie when they simply believe something whci is false?

    //”Ah. So they knew enough from general revelation but they could not be known from special revelation.”//

    Huh? They know the one true God IMMEDIATELY from general revelation THAT is the God they hate and why they are “without excuse.”

    //” They could know some things about God but not what was revealed through special revelation.”//

    No, they DO KNOW THE God and they hate Him, that is why they are without excuse. You can’t hate a ‘god’ that you COULD know.

    //”And again, they are without excuse for ignoring the information they had.”//

    Make up your mind Nick, are they without excuse for ignoring the information they HAD or the information THEY COULD HAVE HAD? You keep going back and forth.

    //”No. I mean they do have the moral law.”//

    Alright, please give me an example of an absolute moral law without a known absolute moral law giver. HOW is anything absolutely morally wrong if the law giver is not known?

    //” I do not believe the text has anything to say about those who die before an age of accountability.”//

    Where do you get the “age of accountability” from??? At what point in the exam is the person accountable, and would that not mean that at some point a person has an excuse contrary to Romans 1?

  67. apologianick Says:

    Sye: Look Nick, I asked for an example of when someone “exchanges the truth for a lie, without knowing the truth.” You say that this happens whenever someone CHOOSES to believe a theory contrary to the truth. I’m looking for a specific example, please try again. Please give a specific example of when someone EXCHANGES the truth for a lie. How are they EXCHANGING trut for a lie when they simply believe something whci is false?

    Reply: Phobias are an example. Note that I can say that one can have knowledge of God, and I do believe that this is known from creation, but it is something that some people do reason away and I do think some are convinced there is no God.

    Sye: Huh? They know the one true God IMMEDIATELY from general revelation THAT is the God they hate and why they are “without excuse.”

    Reply: That would be more like pantheism. One reasons from creation to God. Also, how could they know the one true God without knowing that He is a Trinity? Are you saying when the Jews denied Jesus that they were suppressing what they knew about the Tri-unity of God?

    Sye: No, they DO KNOW THE God and they hate Him, that is why they are without excuse. You can’t hate a ‘god’ that you COULD know.

    Reply: Your use of caps reminds me of the case where the preacher wrote out his sermon and wrote on the side at one point “Weak point. Pound pulpit harder.”

    Sye: Make up your mind Nick, are they without excuse for ignoring the information they HAD or the information THEY COULD HAVE HAD? You keep going back and forth.

    Reply: No. They ignore the information that they have which leads to even more knowledge of who God is. Light is there to point to something. They ignore the light and thus miss what is being pointed to.

    Sye: Alright, please give me an example of an absolute moral law without a known absolute moral law giver. HOW is anything absolutely morally wrong if the law giver is not known?

    Reply: I do not have to do such because I do believe in a moral law giver. However, how something is known is not the same as knowing the cause of it. Causes and reasons are two different things. Aristotle knew several moral commands. Do you think he had to know God to know them? Do you think then he was wrong about them? Morality can be claimed as knowledge without knowing the basis of such knowledge.

    Sye: Where do you get the “age of accountability” from??? At what point in the exam is the person accountable, and would that not mean that at some point a person has an excuse contrary to Romans 1?

    Reply: Children are presented as salvation examples in Scripture. David said his dead child had gone on to be with God. Note again I say you are individualizing the text and this is a prime example of it.

  68. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”Phobias are an example.”//

    A specific example of when someone “exchanges the truth for a lie, without knowing the truth” Nick. (This is like pulling teeth).

    //”Note that I can say that one can have knowledge of God”//

    Yes, you can say that, but then you would be making my argument.

    //”Are you saying when the Jews denied Jesus that they were suppressing what they knew about the Tri-unity of God?”//

    The Jews were suppressing the one true God who is Triune. One cannot be “without excuse” for suppressing ‘gods’ that do not exist.

    //”Your use of caps reminds me of the case where the preacher wrote out his sermon and wrote on the side at one point “Weak point. Pound pulpit harder.”//

    And your non response to the caps, makes me wish I could make them bold too.

    //”No. They ignore the information that they have which leads to even more knowledge of who God is.”//

    Do you even read what you write? First you said that they are without excuse for ignoring information that they COULD HAVE HAD, now you say that it is information they HAD. Which is it Nick and what is the information THEY HAVE and where do they have it?

    //”I do not have to do such because I do believe in a moral law giver.”//

    Sure you do, because you posit that people can know absolute moral laws WITHOUT knowing the law giver. Please give an example of an absolute moral law without a known absolute moral law giver, and how anything can be absolutely morally wrong if the law giver is not known.
    If you are positting that Aristotle did not know God, did he have an excuse for not knowing Him, if not, why not?

    //”Children are presented as salvation examples in Scripture.”//

    So are you saying that there are some who are WITH EXCUSE?

  69. apologianick Says:

    Sye: A specific example of when someone “exchanges the truth for a lie, without knowing the truth” Nick. (This is like pulling teeth).

    Reply: You are assuming the truth is known a priori. I am not saying people knowingly do that. (Interesting you say it’s like pulling teeth when I lost track of how many questions I asked you on the Unbelievable thread you never answered.)

    Sye: Yes, you can say that, but then you would be making my argument.

    Reply: No, because that knowledge is not a priori.

    Sye: The Jews were suppressing the one true God who is Triune. One cannot be “without excuse” for suppressing ‘gods’ that do not exist.

    Reply: Again, did the Jews know that God was triune? If they knew God, wouldn’t they know that?

    Sye: And your non response to the caps, makes me wish I could make them bold too.

    Reply: All you did was assert your position. What you needed was an argument.

    Sye: Do you even read what you write? First you said that they are without excuse for ignoring information that they COULD HAVE HAD, now you say that it is information they HAD. Which is it Nick and what is the information THEY HAVE and where do they have it?

    Reply: Two kinds of information. Knowledge that can lead to God and knowledge of God Himself. Should I get a small child to come here and explain that simple point to you?

    Sye: Sure you do, because you posit that people can know absolute moral laws WITHOUT knowing the law giver. Please give an example of an absolute moral law without a known absolute moral law giver, and how anything can be absolutely morally wrong if the law giver is not known.

    Reply: I do not believe in an absolute moral law without a lawgiver. However, I would point to works like those of cultural anthropologists who consistently find that even the pagans know right from wrong with laws like “Do not murder” and “Honor your parents.” Note that in Leviticus 18 and 20, God states that the pagans should have known right from wrong.

    Sye: If you are positting that Aristotle did not know God, did he have an excuse for not knowing Him, if not, why not?

    Reply: If he ignores the light that he had, no. I do not know how much of special revelation he was presented however especially pre-Christ so I cannot say. That’s not something I’m the judge of.

    Sye: So are you saying that there are some who are WITH EXCUSE?

    Reply: That implies that children are openly denying and rebelling against what they have. They are not.

  70. apologianick Says:

    Ultimately Sye, the best thing you can do to convince someone of your view is what you never did on Unbelievable. That is to prove specifically the Christian God using reason alone. It cannot be done.

  71. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”You are assuming the truth is known a priori.”//

    Quit dodging. Please give a specific example of when someone “exchanges the truth for a lie, without knowing the truth” Nick.

    //”Again, did the Jews know that God was triune?”//

    I don’t know to what extent they knew the characteristics of the true God that they knew, and were without excuse for denying.

    //”Should I get a small child to come here and explain that simple point to you?”//

    Your condescension does not become you. You clearly are contradicting yourself and trying to cover it with smug remarks.

    //”I do not believe in an absolute moral law without a lawgiver.”//

    Not saying that you did, but you DO posit that people can know absolute moral laws without knowing the lawgiver.

    //”However, I would point to works like those of cultural anthropologists who consistently find that even the pagans know right from wrong with laws like “Do not murder” and “Honor your parents.”//

    And why are these wrong and right?

    //”That’s not something I’m the judge of.”//

    So Aristotle might have an excuse?

    //”That implies that children are openly denying and rebelling against what they have. They are not.”//

    So are you saying that there are some who are WITH EXCUSE?

    //”That is to prove specifically the Christian God using reason alone. It cannot be done.”//

    The Christian God must be assumed as a precondition for reason. Tell me though, how do you know what cannot be done with “sense experience” as your foundation? Where did you see, hear, taste, touch or smell, that it cannot be done?

  72. apologianick Says:

    Sye: Quit dodging. Please give a specific example of when someone “exchanges the truth for a lie, without knowing the truth” Nick.

    Reply: Already done. Not my problem if you don’t accept it.

    Sye: I don’t know to what extent they knew the characteristics of the true God that they knew, and were without excuse for denying.

    Reply: So you can know characteristics of the true God without knowing that he’s triune? Thinks for making my point? Are Abraham and the others in the OT in trouble for not knowing God was triune? Were they denying this truth?

    Sye: Your condescension does not become you. You clearly are contradicting yourself and trying to cover it with smug remarks.

    Reply: No. There is no contradiction.

    Sye: Not saying that you did, but you DO posit that people can know absolute moral laws without knowing the lawgiver.

    Reply: Correct. I also posit that people can know what they ate for breakfast and what their names are without having to know God.

    Sye: And why are these wrong and right?

    Reply: Irrelevant. What’s relevant is that they are known even without knowing how they are known.

    Sye: So Aristotle might have an excuse?

    Reply: Nor did I say that. I just said I can’t be the judge of his salvation. Amazing. You say Paul Baird could not be the judge of what is true, but you expect me to be the judge of Aristotle’s salvation.

    Sye: So are you saying that there are some who are WITH EXCUSE?

    Reply: Excuse for what? Suppressing truth and living in rebellion. I am not claiming children know enough to do that.

    Sye: The Christian God must be assumed as a precondition for reason.

    Reply: Why can’t Allah be assumed?

    Sye: Tell me though, how do you know what cannot be done with “sense experience” as your foundation? Where did you see, hear, taste, touch or smell, that it cannot be done?

    Reply: I know because there are things that cannot be known of God unless he reveals them Himself since all we can do with sense experience is abstract to universals rather than knowing particular things about such a universal. Sense experience cannot tell you that God is YHWH or that He is triune. I do realize reason has its limits. You should do likewise.

  73. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”Already done. Not my problem if you don’t accept it.”//

    The record is clear that you have not.

    //”So you can know characteristics of the true God without knowing that he’s triune?”//

    Yes.

    //” Thinks for making my point?’//

    Not even close. You do not talk about knowledge, but about potential knowledge which is clearly not what Romans 1 says.

    //”Are Abraham and the others in the OT in trouble for not knowing God was triune?”//

    They are not in trouble for not knowing some characteristics of God, they are in trouble for sinning against the REAL God that they know exists (not some generic ‘god’ that they COULD know exists).

    //”No. There is no contradiction.”//

    Sure there is.

    //”Correct. I also posit that people can know what they ate for breakfast and what their names are without having to know God.”//

    Alright, please tell me HOW they could know this?

    //”Irrelevant. What’s relevant is that they are known even without knowing how they are known.”//

    It’s very relevant. Something cannot be absolutely wrong unless it’s known WHY it is absolutely wrong, else all you have in an arbitrary claim, not an absolute one.

    //”Nor did I say that. I just said I can’t be the judge of his salvation.”//

    Just asking, could Aristotle have had an excuse?

    //”Amazing. You say Paul Baird could not be the judge of what is true, but you expect me to be the judge of Aristotle’s salvation.”//

    Nope, just asking if Aristotle could have an excuse?

    //”Excuse for what? Suppressing truth and living in rebellion. I am not claiming children know enough to do that.”//

    Just answer the question, is it possible for some to have an excuse for having denied the REAL God when they stand before Him?

    //”Why can’t Allah be assumed?”//

    Because he does not exist.

    //”I know because there are things that cannot be known of God unless he reveals them Himself since all we can do with sense experience is abstract to universals rather than knowing particular things about such a universal. Sense experience cannot tell you that God is YHWH or that He is triune. I do realize reason has its limits. You should do likewise.”//

    Not asking you what you know, I’m asking HOW you know ANY of this with sense experience as your foundation.

  74. apologianick Says:

    Sye: The record is clear that you have not.

    Reply: I think it clear that I have since I say you are individualizing the text.

    Sye:

    Yes.

    Reply: Again, you demonstrate my point.

    Aristotle: Not even close. You do not talk about knowledge, but about potential knowledge which is clearly not what Romans 1 says.

    Reply: So when Aristotle says that God is immaterial, infinite, eternal, etc., he was just making lucky guesses. Right?

    Sye: They are not in trouble for not knowing some characteristics of God, they are in trouble for sinning against the REAL God that they know exists (not some generic ‘god’ that they COULD know exists).

    Reply: So they knew the triune God exists or did they just have incomplete knowledge of God but were sinning against him anyway?

    Sye: Sure there is.

    Reply: Sye says it. I guess that settles it.

    Sye: Alright, please tell me HOW they could know this?

    Reply: Again, irrelevant. That is an idealist position and I do not hold to such a Cartesian standard. You put a method before knowledge. I put knowledge before method.

    Sye: It’s very relevant. Something cannot be absolutely wrong unless it’s known WHY it is absolutely wrong, else all you have in an arbitrary claim, not an absolute one.

    Reply: False. I can say that I know that the Earth goes around the sun, but I have no idea how I would possibly demonstrate that to you. Again, you are confusing the how with the that.

    Sye: Just asking, could Aristotle have had an excuse?

    Reply: As I’ve said, no. I am not the judge of his salvation however.

    Sye: Nope, just asking if Aristotle could have an excuse?

    Reply: How many times must I say no?

    Sye: Just answer the question, is it possible for some to have an excuse for having denied the REAL God when they stand before Him?

    Reply: Again, no. I have always stated that no one on the last day can say “It wasn’t fair.”

    Sye: Because he does not exist.

    Reply: The Muslim disagrees and assumes Allah exists and that you are wrong. Demonstrate he’s wrong using reason alone.

    Sye: Not asking you what you know, I’m asking HOW you know ANY of this with sense experience as your foundation.

    Reply: Because I am an Aristotlean-Thomist. Are you totally unfamiliar with the methodology? Do I have to explain it all because you have not properly studied it?

  75. Sye Ten Bruggencate Says:

    //”So when Aristotle says that God is immaterial, infinite, eternal, etc., he was just making lucky guesses. Right?”//

    Huh? How does that follow from my post?

    //”So they knew the triune God exists or did they just have incomplete knowledge of God but were sinning against him anyway?”//

    They knew the REAL God exists, who is Triune, and were sinning against Him.

    //”Sye says it. I guess that settles it.”//

    You totally missed that I simply responded in kind to your unsupported denial.

    Sye: Alright, please tell me HOW they could know this?

    //”False. I can say that I know that the Earth goes around the sun”//

    How do you know this?

    //” Again, you are confusing the how with the that. “//

    Nope, one cannot have an absolute moral law without knowing the law giver, lest it become arbitrary.

    //”How many times must I say no?”//

    Once is sufficient. Please cut and paste where you have said that Aristotle could not have an excuse prior to this.

    //”Reply: Again, no. I have always stated that no one on the last day can say “It wasn’t fair.”//

    Then what was all that garbage about children?

    //”The Muslim disagrees and assumes Allah exists and that you are wrong.”//

    So what, you admitted that they are suppressing the truth about the real God and making an idol.

    //”Because I am an Aristotlean-Thomist. Are you totally unfamiliar with the methodology? Do I have to explain it all because you have not properly studied it?”//

    Please do (instead of continuously avoiding the question).

  76. apologianick Says:

    Sye: Huh? How does that follow from my post?

    Reply: Your claim was that there could not be knowledge. You defined what he has as potential knowledge. I stated a number of beliefs Aristotle had about God. Were they just potential knowledge? How do you think he arrived at them?

    Sye: They knew the REAL God exists, who is Triune, and were sinning against Him.

    Reply: Again, not what I am asking. Did they know God was triune? Yes or no?

    Sye: You totally missed that I simply responded in kind to your unsupported denial.

    Reply: The difference is I actually make an argument.

    Sye: How do you know this?

    Reply: It’s based on the universal testimony of those I consider to be reliable with no bone to pick. This is the problem with your methodology. Knowing that is not the same as how you know. For instance, if you are married, I could say “Do you know your wife isn’t cheating on you?” Chances are, you’d simply say you know she isn’t even if she isn’t being watched 24/7 by you and you could not “prove” that she has been faithful any time you haven’t been there.

    This is also the difference between an infinite regress chain per se and per accidens. You’re starting a per se chain and it won’t work. It comes from the Cartesian attitude which I don’t accept. It’s modern thinking which is odd since you claim it’s the attitude of the Bible.

    Sye: Nope, one cannot have an absolute moral law without knowing the law giver, lest it become arbitrary.

    Reply: False. Someone can know something without knowing how it is true or even why it is true. Are you saying man could not know right from wrong by virtue of being a man? Romans 2 disagrees. Just as God’s existence can be discerned from reality, so can morality.

    Sye: Once is sufficient. Please cut and paste where you have said that Aristotle could not have an excuse prior to this.

    Reply: I figured my stance had been clear enough. Sorry if you have to have everything spelled out.

    Sye: Then what was all that garbage about children?

    Reply: My point of view.

    Sye: So what, you admitted that they are suppressing the truth about the real God and making an idol.

    Reply: Irrelevant. What will you say to a Muslim? Your goal is not to convince me but to convince the Muslim. Philosophy alone will never prove Christianity because Christianity is not primarily a philosophical position but a theological position that is revealed in history. Philosophy can be used in theology and in history, but philosophy is not theology and philosophy is not history.

    Sye: Please do (instead of continuously avoiding the question).

    Reply: Sye. The real action for you to do would be to actually go out and go to your library and read books on the view you disagree with even if you think it’s totally wrong to at least understand it, or are you of the position that you’re obviously right so there’s no point in reading about what your opponent believes?

    Anyway, basically, an Aristotlean believes that universals are known by studying the particulars. For instance, I walk down the place where I live and I see several dogs. None of those dogs that I see is “dogness” but each one possesses dogness. From the particular dogs I see, I abstract an idea of what a dog is, which is the universal. I do the same with humans. The greatest universal is the one of Aquinas that he added and that is the universal of being. What Aquinas seeks to do is look at everything that exists. For instance, physics is the study of matter in motion. Astronomy is that of heavenly matter. Biology is that of living matter. Zoology is that of animal matter. I could go on. For immaterials, mathematics is the study of math. Ethics is the study of right and wrong. Angelology is the study of angels. Each of these deals with a type of being. What is being itself however? That is the main point of Thomism and that being is that which God is. God has no distinction between what He is and that He is. It does not mean that all being is God, which is pantheism, but that God is being in his nature. I am human in my nature, but humanity is not me.

    I recommend “An Interpretation of Existence” by Joseph Owens” and John Wippel’s “The Metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas.” Also, Edward Feser’s Aquinas.

    This does require actual reading and learning a position. What I have stated cannot be a full summary.

  77. An Acceptance of Paul Baird's Debate Challenge Says:

    […] One review is here – https://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/presuppositional-apologetics-on-unbelievable/ […]

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